comparing is toxic behavior

comparing

In light of recent events – my boyfriend getting a teaching job and me being extremely bitter/jealous/resentful of his success due to my dead-end job and being at the very beginning of my education – I’ve found myself gravitating towards “positive” blogs. I used to be much more spiritual, much more aligned with love and light, and my intentions were better. I don’t know what happened, but I’ve definitely lost that spark. I hate who I’ve become. I feel completely inadequate and ashamed of my choices and where they’ve lead me. I compare my lack of success to my boyfriend’s success and it eats me alive.

It’s unrealistic, obviously, to expect to be an exact even match with your romantic partner. It is difficult, I’m finding, when you find yourself with a fellow creative person with similar interests, passions and goals. It feels competitive, but it shouldn’t. I’m not sure I want to teach, per se. I just want to have a career that is more tailored to my the things that I love (just like everyone else in the world).

I stumbled across this post by Rosie Hanke, and it really resonated with me, so I thought I would share:

“You don’t need anything more in your life to be someone great….”

Have you ever looked at the lives of people around you and then came back to yourself with a yucky feeling inside questioning why you don’t have what they have or how you could be at such a different place in life than them? *raises hand* I have. It’s part jealousy – part insecurity.

I have looked at my friends’ lives and compared my own life to theirs only seeing the positives in their own and the negatives in mine. I saw how far ahead some of them were in their schooling, in their careers (yes, careers, not just jobs), and life in general. I thought how did I mess everything up so much to end up where I am? ..So far from where I thought I should be and where society said I should be. I was mad at myself and comparing myself to others success only made things worse.

Are you comparing yourself to someone else or someone else’s accomplishments? If so, Stop! When we do things like that we are only hurting ourselves. I came to realize that looking at my life in such a way that could only make me wish I had more to prove of myself was pretty ridiculous. It doesn’t matter where I am in life or what I have accomplished at this point in time- None of those things make me more or less loveable and the same goes for you.

You don’t need anything more in your life to be someone great, or to be more valued, or to have a better looking life— You are already worth so much more than you can imagine. Where you’re at in life does not define your worth.

It can be so easy to fall into a place of self-hate when you compare yourself to others; don’t do that to yourself. When you stop comparing, you open up your world and yourself to a newfound freedom that gives you the magic and the beauty to just be yourself!

Love yourself where you are, for who you are.

Do you ever get stuck in comparing yourself to others? How do you deal with it? Please share in the comments! xo

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I’m sorry/I can’t/don’t hate me

In “The Post-It Always Sticks Twice,” Carrie gets dumped by her boyfriend, fellow writer Jack Berger, via Post-It note. “I’m sorry/I can’t/don’t hate me” was scrawled on said Post-It. Leading up to the breakup, we see Berger’s recurrent insecurities about Carrie’s even more successful career, and how it makes him feel inadequate. Carrie received a huge check from her publisher; Berger’s second book option (at the same publisher) gets dropped. He feels like a “big fat failure” and is finding it increasingly difficult to be supportive in Carrie’s shadow, even though he cognitively knows and admits that she is “magnificent” and has earned her success.

True to form, I can relate almost any life situation to Sex and the City, and this is where I am right now. Only instead of being Carrie, I’m Berger. I just found out that my boyfriend (whom I love, adore and now live with) got his first real English teaching job, at the same school where he is currently the writing lab instructor. This will mean a big pay increase of course, and it’s what he’s always wanted to do, what he went to school for. A good girlfriend would be happy for her man when he gets the job he wants. Right? Somehow I can’t be. And it makes me sound like a bad person, but I’m trying to work out the reasons why I’m not happy, and can’t seem to shake the feelings that I have.

I’m jealous and resentful. I think that sums it up the best. I had toyed with the idea of being an English teacher on and off in my younger years. Instead of going to college out of high school, I dropped out, moved in with my boyfriend and got married at 19 (divorced at 20). During the last 7 years, I’ve worked my butt off to keep a roof over my head. I finally started school about three months ago. I’ve essentially ruled out becoming a teacher, mainly because I can’t take the required day program while working full time. Then again, I’m not even sure what I would be good at. Writing freelance? Editing? Who knows. I’m feeling all kinds of insecure and inadequate, even though I have a 4.0 and glowing feedback from the one English course I’ve taken thus far. I’ve only just begun. The job market is bleak. I know I should think positively and be happy I’m working towards my goals now, but I don’t feel that way. At all.

In the past few weeks as I’ve known bf’s interview was impending, I provided false words of encouragement. I thought if I resented him and hoped he didn’t get the job, I should (wisely, no?) keep my mouth shut and be supportive. I secretly hoped he didn’t get chosen. Not necessarily because I don’t want him to be happy, because I do, but simply because my own inadequacies are THAT crippling. I know how juvenile and hateful that sounds, believe me. I have my own issues (borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety) and it’s really hard to balance them with a healthy relationship. Believe it or not, we do have a good relationship. This issue of resentment regarding career has come up before. The only thing I’ve done is keep plugging away at school and trying to put on a happy face when it comes to his successes. But it’s not working.

Today I confessed my resentment, probably shouldn’t have. And things have gone downhill from there. I said some terrible things which I hate to say, I actually meant. I’m talking to my good friends, and I know what I “should” do (apologize and work things out) but it isn’t that easy or that simple. My friends do understand why I feel the way I do, and so does he. Sometimes it helps to have a little understanding…but it doesn’t change how I feel.

Have you ever been envious or resentful of a partner’s success? How did you (or do you) cope with those feelings?

I have no time.

buddhatime

I don’t know if it’s just the hubbub of moving, being in school, and working full time or what—but I seriously have NO time these days. Weekends are spent doing laundry, grocery shopping or miscellaneous apartment-related tasks; most weeknights I’m in school till 8 or at work till 7, and/or bf has to work till 9 or 10. Very seldom do I get to just chill out and unwind. By the time I get home it’s dark out and time to get ready for bed. I know I’m not alone in lamenting the lack of time in my busy, modern life, but it’s getting to the point where I feel tapped out. Short-term solution? Take a personal day or two, a vacation once I can save up the time (again—time—it’s so valuable and rare)! But over the long-term, what can we do to expand time so that we get to do MORE of the things we REALLY want to do?

I haven’t been to the beach yet this year. I haven’t taken a single walk in my new neighborhood yet. I want to go horseback riding this summer. K and I have a movie list a mile long and we haven’t watched a movie in I can’t tell you HOW long. (Granted, we do play some video games and watch important shows like Game of Thrones.) His family owns a boat and we haven’t been out on that yet. There are SO many things that there just doesn’t seem to be time for, that always get pushed to the back burner. I need my job, obviously, and I’m only taking one college course at a time for now. School is a priority and I shouldn’t resent it, but I do in a way, because it robs me of my free time. I’m so bitter about the timesuck of work, and all day as I answer the phone I think about all of the things I would do, could be doing, if only I wasn’t stuck at work. Then when I get out it’s task time—cleaning, making meals, getting ready for the next day of the very same grind. Oh my god, is this what being a grown up really is?

I thought that when I lived with my boyfriend and no longer needed to carve out “boyfriend time,” we would have more time together, and it would be easier to squeeze in schoolwork and other things as needed. It isn’t, really. If anything the days seem to be rushing past even quicker. Even though I see bf every night, when I come home to him it feels like it’s been centuries since I’ve done so much in between. I honestly don’t know how people with kids do it. It’s SO hard.
Guru/spiritual writer Gabrielle Bernstein made this video awhile back, and I’ve found it helpful to refer to in times of stress–she encourages us to turn inward to inspire us to get through our days more easily and energetically. Things to keep in mind…

Do you struggle with feeling like you don’t have enough time? What are your tips for “expanding” time? How do you carve out time to spend with your family, friends and loved ones, and still get everything done? Leave a comment and let me know! xo

adventures in cohabitation: the first two weeks

Moving in with the man of my dreams is pretty much something I’ve been waiting for over the last 7 years, all whilst I was holed up in a VERY small and dingy “one bedroom” (try broom closet) on my own. It was the only thing I could afford, and moving in with family/roommates wasn’t an option, so I slummed it for a LONG ass time. I had no space for my stuff and the landlord was HORRIBLE. I wasn’t going to move in with “just anyone” so I’m glad I waited for my Prince Charming to come along. He’s never lived on his own – just with his parents. I had concerns about this, of course (and still kind of do). Living alone, while challenging in many ways, is a life experience I think I’m better for. (However, once you’re no longer living alone, you’re presented with a whole new set of challenges and adjustments.) After much deliberation, discussion and apartment hunting (oh joy!) we found the perfect pad for us and actually made the move. Here are some observations, realities and lessons from the last two weeks.

#1. Moving SUCKS.

No matter how much we hear how stressful moving is, the concept is always a bit abstract until you actually DO it. When K and I first started discussing our move, I began weeding through my stuff. I would recommend this to anyone, whether you move or not. Make it a habit to comb through your closet/drawers at least once a year—the rule of anything not worn in a year goes is a great rule. I thought I had done well in my paring down process and I still feel like I’m drowning in STUFF. I especially felt that way on the day before and day of my move, packing and carrying heavy boxes in 95 degree heat (thank you, New England heat wave)!

#2. It takes longer than you think to settle in.

Almost 2 weeks later and we still have some boxes kicking around and pictures that haven’t been hung, and we’re not quite sure what we want to do with our combined MASSIVE DVD/blu-ray collection. It’s getting there though. Over the past week I’m still locating missing items that were tucked away during the packing process.

#3. We mesh, as I predicted we would.

We generally like the same styles of furniture/artwork and have a similar threshold of neatness/cleanliness. I’m definitely the slob in  this partnership, but neither of us is OCD clean/neat or atrociously sloppy. I’ve heard horror stories of chores not being done, and had some issues with that on my first go-around at playing house when I was 18, but this time around we’re doing fine at household tasks, at least I think so. I am very lucky to have a boyfriend who will scoop the cat box (my cats!) without being asked.

#4. There are some pitfalls/adjustments…also as predicted.

The first night I came home to K, I freaked out. There was loud music blasting and he was cooking dinner somewhat incorrectly. Something about the loud music and cooking technique jarred me and made me spaz out on poor bf. (Or I can blame PMS…) I called my BFF and she talked me down. Our little “differences” we’ve all been able to talk through. Bf will KILL me for putting this on the internet, but he isn’t exactly skilled in the kitchen (yet). Specific instructions must be given, or disaster ensues. (Maybe not disaster, but at least little discord; it’s always been this way, and I knew what I was getting into.)  I’m told by all the older ladies in my life – it’s a man thing. Sexist as it sounds, nothing can be done. And bf tries, and does a lot. He’s learning how to cook and task in a house, what products are used when. He’s also an expert at assembling furniture, which I know I would be rubbish at if I tried! (Honey if you read this, I love you!)

#5. It’s not all fun and games.

Of course I knew this, but it’s true. We both work, and I attend evening classes. There’s plenty of work to be done when you first move—unpacking, organizing, etc. The cats have developed some odd behaviors with the move and I feel bad that K has to do some feline cleanup—but we both knew that was coming. Even though we see each other every day, we kiss goodbye at 6:30/7 am when he leaves for work and often don’t see each other again until 7:30-11:30 pm, depending on our schedules. And in a weird way, I miss our nightly phone calls to each other, even though we get to “touch feet” every night these days, I will always treasure our pre-cohabitation days. Pining for each other was romantic.

Overall though…so worth it.

I love our apartment. It’s huge compared to my old place, in the cutest little town. We have a deck that overlooks trees/rocks and a Little League field, which we have set up with patio furniture. Almost every night we eat our dinner out there together and get to unwind. We can shoot zombies together on Xbox and watch our favorite movies and shows. Our relationship hasn’t really changed that much. We still laugh and play a ton, and we get to have sex whenever we want (which is ALL the time, lucky us!).

I find it hard to believe that there’s still much of a debate about couples living together before marriage. In my opinion, it’s foolish not to. Yes, it’s a big risk if it doesn’t work out, but it’s important to see what it’s like before getting contractual. Not everyone who shacks up may have marriage as their end-game, but we certainly do. It’s important to talk about that before moving in. I’ve read other blogs where women have moved in with their men and haven’t talked about marriage/kids prior. If you’re sharing a space, that should be on the docket for discussion. K and I have always been very vocal about what we want—and yes, we do want to get married, someday. It’s nice to know where things are (hopefully) going…and even nicer to come home to him. ❤